Wednesday, August 18, 2004

"Self centered-ness"

This is a strange term, when you think about it beyond the typical, pop-psychological spin it has acquired over the last 100 years or so.

People have been "self centered" for at least as long as they could talk, if not a day or two before that. When their brains first started talking to them, and they could hear it (that is, when Life first started speaking through their higher cortex... that is, when their higher cortex had evolved to the necessary point that it could pick up Life's broadcast).

I believe that people today are just too "self centered" to ever be able to do themselves "justice", let alone fulfill the promise Life has in store for a few people here and there, with the necessary "brain power" (referenced in a few earlier messages) to "help out with the chores".

Running the show on this planet requires much more brain power than any one human can possibly imagine, and even if you multiply that by 6+billion, to include all living humans, it's still not enough! Life is at least as big as all living, organic matter on this planet, and we can NOT say with certainty that it's any bigger than just that -it may be isolated here, and actually "struggling" to retain it's foothold here.

A possibility certainly exists, that the Universe is a gigantic machine, and Life is a foreign entity, and NOT a natural outgrowth of this Universe. Perhaps it is an accident, due to laws which were certainly built INTO the machinery or else it could never have developed, but that development may have been a 1 in a 1000 trillion or greater chance of occurring, yet, given the long time scales involved, that 1-1000 trillion chance occurred - like some nag horse that barely even made it to the starting line, but suddenly by some happy set of accidents, all the rest of the horses fell limp or something, and the old nag made it across the line - and the rest, as they say, is history. And here we are, I am, to write this story!!!

But, just because life is here, doesn't mean it's a sure thing forever - and NOT, NOT, NOT because humans could bring the whole game crashing down, as the idiots and unwashed piles of wasted brain matter loudly proclaim everywhere at the drop of a hat. That's absolute NON-SENSE. Life is simply broadcasting THAT message and some poorly tuned radio receivers are picking it up and speaking it, blah, blah, blah. Humanity will not, can not be the end of life on earth. If Life needs to make certain adjustments to the workings of organic life to allow itself to continue here, healthy and ready to rumble, then it will. So don't go being concerned about nuclear winters and stuff.

It's the same as you and your body and your t-cells and your immune system. They are all working and keeping you alive, and they will continue to do so. A minor eruption here and there, will simply be dealt with, by the immune system.

The common misconception which is about 6000 years old, is that you have to improve yourself, fix yourself (because as you are, you're all screwed up), to ever be of use to yourself, let alone to something greater than you - like, generally, >>the state<< (The King/Tyrant/Ruler/God). Since that misconception got a foothold on humanity, it morphed somewhat to now read: you must wake up, or get enlightened, etc.

But, it's all the same misconception. Life doesn't need people to fix themselves OR wake up. HONESTLY!!! It doesn't need that at all, and it also doesn't need a handful of individuals here and there to wake up. That is not the help it needs to do the chores here.

What it NEEDS, is for large (enough) numbers of living humans to increase their capacity for conscious thought, to think more, and to think better. The chief thing that interferes with all of that, is the self centered-ness mentioned above. You are NOT, NOT, NOT trying to wake up for your own benefit, or someone else's, or to save the world. You ARE trying to increase your capacity for conscious thought, as that is what LIFE is making you do, whether you like it or not.

Humans interfere with this rightful result, by remaining self centered, by thinking only about themselves (which, in case you haven't figured it out yet, is a >>direct<< result of poor thinking, inefficient thinking, and ordinary consciousness). This does NOT mean, as some religions have perverted it, thinking about other people - helping them, feeding them, clothing them, sheltering them, and all the rest, though there's certainly nothing wrong with that, if that's your hobby! It means, thinking about Life and what IT is up against here on earth (that's what IT is thinking about, afterall... did you know that? do you understand that?)

That is, LIFE is the most self centered monster you could ever imagine in your wildest LSD hallucinatory mind trip, and if humans are also "self centered", is it any wonder? However, seeing that reality, is also the key to breaking out of the prison of your self centered-ness.

You need to inject yourself, in a very specific and KNOWN place, with a fat needle, the idea: "What is going on here? How are things so arranged that such-and-such is going on here?" You need that to be what drives your consciousness, supplanting the pissant idea, paraphrased here, but you know what I'm referring to: "What is happening to me, why me, Woe is ME!!"

This is a never-ending story, of course, and I only have so many minutes at the keyboard, but >>someone must continue this...<<

"Working" groups

There are many groups of people, here and there, studying the "great works" associated with such things as "conscious evolution", "waking up", "enlightenment", even "non-dual philosophy" of all things, and with the advent and worldwide popularization of the Internet, including Usenet and email lists, especially Yahoo and Google, large numbers of people find it incredibly easy to communicate with many other people, from all walks of life, and many different ages and levels of experience, all talking about their presumably "favorite" form of mental masturbation, oops I meant, intellectual time-wasting, er, I meant spiritual discussion.

These groups, while previously only possible in physical locations, and usually only once or twice a week, and then with only a small number of participants - except on the "really big weekend gatherings" where a bunch more would show up, and blah, blah, blah...- are now easy to get involved with, by simply rolling out of bed over to the pc, and logging into the favorite (in our case) Yahoo Groups, or Facebook Pages, and experience forms of mind tingles they ordinarily can't produce for themselves. Which, of course, is the key thing here.

It's a lot, and I do mean a LOT like taking drugs. Think about it. Would you really take drugs (alcohol, pot, or your favorite drug-of-choice), if you could effect the desired changes in your brain, on your own? Hell no, besides, they cost money (for one thing), and you have to have a supplier (for another thing), each of which are often out of your control, not to mention the legal issues involved.

Extrapolating, would you really join, read, and occasionally participate in these spiritually-based lists, if you could effect the *desired* changes in your own brain? The keyword being, of course, *desired*. There is a desired change, in all who join physical groups, and in all who join email lists, and everybody realizes this to some degree, though they often can't discuss it. At best, most people say "I enjoy it", or "I need it", but have no clue why they enjoy or need anything, let alone getting involved with other people and talking about spiritual stuff and other nonsense.

As inevitably happens, there are the pleasant folks and the unpleasant folks, and the two always meet - there seems no other choice. Just as there are the smart folks and the stupid folks, and the passive folks and the aggressive folks, and etc., etc. The reason for all such gatherings, first and foremost - whether they realize it or not - is the brain changes that result. NO ONE will continue with anything, when the changes therein become either unpleasant or boring or dangerous or any of a number of other adjectives. People remain because the brain changes they can personally experience for themselves are (usually) pleasurable, and when we're talking - as we now are quite specifically - about the conscious part of the brain that can talk, those changes are quite specific, and usually come down to something like, "being interested" and/or "excited", even "passionate!" in the subjects and the manner in which those subjects are discussed.

Quite often, personalities start battling it out publicly: either physically, though usually much subdued and amount to little more than "funny looks", and "cold shoulders", and other emotionally-tinged behaviors; or mentally, as on email lists, where the speech often becomes quite abusive. People can always "get away" with a helluva lot more meanness and sarcasm and criticism and aggressiveness on an email list, Yahoo group, Facebook page, than they would EVER allow themselves in a physical setting - else they would likely get their face bashed in, or worse.

Anywho... to make a too-long story, a little shorter (though probably still too long, eh?)... If it wasn't for Internet email lists and Blogger sites (such as this and many others) many people would not have such a vibrant intellectual life at all - which is not a bad thing; au contraire mon ami, it is a good thing. For that, is just about the only way those many people can discern any movement at all, up there, in there, behind their facemask.

In general, that movement is either outer-directed, or inner-directed, other-directed, or self-directed, and all four - which are really just two, with a color-shift, or a phase-shift - are but mirror-images of each other, and circular. Start well, End well, but go Nowhere. A whole lot of much ado, about a whole lot of nothing.

What is really needed - and the promise of internet email lists, MAY be one of the only possible ways for many people to perceive this - is for there to be a kind of "turning the corner", a right-angled movement distinct from the natural opposing tendencies you might have, which in the area of intellectual energy flows, seems to ping-pong back and forth ONLY between agreement and disagreement ("truth", and "falsehood").

It's the "itch to tell", turned upon itself, instead of reacted to.

What the hell is the "itch to tell?" You know, you already know, and so does everybody else. It's what drags people to movies, concerts, study-groups, email lists, and all the rest of the gatherings of human brains parading around as something else. People don't attend these gatherings to "find out" anything at all. They attend them, to be able to "tell themselves" (and others) what they want to hear, because that experience is a "drug" in the brain, that everybody has instant access to in great quantities, and when accessed it gets you reliably high, and it's oh, so, pleasurable - and cheap, and legal.

The "itch to tell" gets everybody out of the bed, and it gets them fed and fucked when necessary, so that there is enough free time to feed their own brains, with either physical hard-to-get drugs, or for the few, neuropeptides and similar chemicals that are easy-to-get once you know how - and where. (Just another of those heretofore mentioned "skills and powers" that the great unwashed - by those same wonderful chemicals - have no understanding about, and even less interest - they'd rather study books and talk about them, blah, blah, blah, and then die.)

"I did it... *my* way."

Frank had it right, you know - he did it his way.

And became a "fully realized" (from Life's point of view) Frank Sinatra - his image lives on in the minds of all those who know (and admire (and love)) him. Funny how that works out.

Same for Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, Gurdjieff, Ramana, Nizargadatta, and the list of images you can conjure up from memory is (seems almost) limitless. It all just depends upon... "you" and your "understanding", which is the same as *memory*. Whatever you presently have "in memory", is all that you can draw from. (Consider: there are not *just* six+ billion humans alive today, there are 6+ that memory-list conjured up from above. Might we... jeez, here it comes... >>calculate<< about 100 billion?)

Now - that is, this present instant !bang! (which includes all living humans and their ilk) - can only "move forward" into the mental comprehension of "the future", by the acquisition, and digestion, and tranmutation of "the new". That is, only the New can energize and move the Now. (Not understanding all this, is the source of the shallower idea, "the eternal now" - "the eternal now" is stuck on one spot, or at least "the idea of that" is stuck somewhere in your own brain...

...and you can't get to that "location", to delete it. (note, it was not suggested to, digest it, or try to transmute it.)

Ordinary consciousness is a topology of brain-space - 100 billion neurons : some used for thinking, some used for storing - and as one is, as everybody is until they aren't, ordinary consciousness can't locate the place of any given idea, for the idea seems to move around like mercury.

[topology: \To*pol"o*gy\, n. [Gr. ? place + -logy. The art of, or method for, assisting the memory by associating the thing or subject to be remembered with some place.]

"You can't prove an idea wrong, you can only move it out of the way."

Try to observe a thought and it moves out of the way, like a pencil would move mercury out of the way when trying to touch it. (Interesting clue here: to move a thought out of the way, just try to observe it directly, and when it starts moving, PLACE a flag there - claim it as your own.

In this way you are populating virgin territory, in your own brain, wherein you can shift the duties of ordinary thinking, into that new, fresh, part of the neural map (those 100 billion mostly underutilized neurons).

Interesting notion: 100 billion new rons, are capable of interconnecting into more possible connected pathways, than there are stars in the universe, that is many trillions of interconnections. And when these many interconnections are interconnecting - there, you have a !big bang!

"Big bangs" are often referred to, by the unwashed and semi-literate, as waking up, or englightenment, or nirvana, which are by themselves, not "bad words", or "inappropriate in any way words", but Irrelevant with a capital I, once their individual locations have been flagged. That is, you don't need to use them anymore, because you have *NEW* information-generating skills and powers.

The drive to acquire these skills and powers, is precisely what is driving all humanity forward, inches at a time at best of course - where miles, hell, parsecs at a time are possible. Science, medicine, religion, the arts, music, literature, even politics and the legal system and the educational system (all of civilization as we know it), are all possible ONLY because the mind in ordinary men, is Driven to acquire the skills of generating *NEW* information out of the old and ordinary.

Ordinary men don't know how to do this, and since there's no one in there with them who doesn't need to be, there's no one who can teach them the "method" or "proper tool", which when applied would result in new skills and powers. Ordinary men stay the same, from birth to death, and the only "changes" noticeable are a dramatic LOSS of skills and powers.

"Let the dead bury the dead."

"Let the dead bury the dead." is sometimes attributed to a certain higher being's "point of view", suggesting that the walking-dead should be the ones to bury the actually-dead, and that the presumed really alive have no need of either. There are other more metaphorical meanings possible of course, but let's just stay with the obvious one.

In fact, it's an ordinary person's point-of-view regarding the dead. When the dying - and this often includes higher mammals - recognize somehow they are near death, they will very often leave camp, to go somewhere alone to die. After a few days at most, nature has taken care of the remains, and for all intents and purposes, they are buried, superficially perhaps, but scarcely to be seen at all. That is, the dead bury themselves.

Let's dig a little deeper. Thoughts give the impression of being alive as long as they are running rampant in you. When they are effectively, "out of mind", they are also, quite forgotten. Remember them yet again, and you effectively raise them from the dead, to live again - to pretend to be you again. If you could forget large tracts of land housing even larger groups of unwanted, useless members of your chaotic little society of mind (euphemistically called, the 'slumber room', popular in the funeral business), perhaps they would eventually just die off, never to trouble you again. If the dying are not brought back to mystical health by you remembering them, they will soon enough die off completely, and instantly be buried.

The dead bury themselves, in a sane world,

the second they open their mouths critizing it, in any way.

Only the living remain, in a sane world.

The "itch" and other unmentionables.

Most - though certainly not all, but most - of what passes for back-and-forth emails between people subscribed on, especially, spiritually-based email lists, are ad hoc presentations of someone's "understanding" (such as it is at that particular moment in time) of some or other spiritually-based (i.e., mental, as opposed to physical) "idea" found in some book written, usually - though not always, but usually - quite some time ago, if not centuries ago, by someone who is, obviously, neither here (on the email subscription list) to confirm their present understanding or available to help them in any way with it.

Given the **possible** validity of the above, >>Why<< is there so much activity on these spiritually-based email lists?

Who knows! Here's but an ad hoc theory.

Something arises in you, an "itch", that wants to go to the keyboard and spend some time staring at the screen, and writing some words, and polishing them just right, and then broadcasting the letter to a bunch of people you'll likely never meet, to discuss and get feedback on one of these "ideas" you remember reading somewhere.

But, how can you seriously inquire about your subject of interest (and such subjects quickly reduce to something like: "what is the source of consciousness?", or "how can I wake up before I die?", or "is enlightenment even possible?", or "can I attain nirvana?") without getting to the bottom of the matter regarding that "itch" that continually wants to broadcast letters to a bunch of people you'll likely never meet?

From this - perhaps irrelevant, or even impertinent - point of view, who CARES what anybody else alive or dead has to say about anything you say/believe you're interested in (perhaps even to the point of being, quite excited, even passionate about) discovering? Do you seriously believe they can assist your boat ride across that river separating you from your goal? (There's just you, the boat, and the river, afterall.)

Some reading this may reply, "OF COURSE!" because what else can they say? "No." would literally be unacceptable. But, to whom or what, would the unshakably firm "No." be unacceptable?

Can you prove you don't already fully understand everything someone else you admire, hope to learn from, and want to read everything ever written by and about, understood regarding your current favorite subject of intangible interest?

And if you can't prove you don't already fully understand it, wouldn't a life time trying to understand, yet again (that is, remember verbally), that which you already fully understand, be, well, a monstrous waste of time - although, in the condition of confusion that would necessarily represent, entertaining to be sure?

Especially so, for... you guessed it... the "itch?"

ps- lest someone think all this is some kind of rant against active posters to email lists, it's certainly not - the largest majority of subscribers on any list are in fact lurkers who never post, but presumably only read, but they DO read their books, and they DO converse with themselves and perhaps even their friends about the same topics the active posters are talking about.

pps- no one gets away scott free.

You can touch your own thoughts.

It is generally understood, worldwide, that the only things you can *touch* are those things on or outside the skin of your body (assuming you have no gaping wounds somewhere, and if you do, you should go find a doctor, and stop reading this right now!)

But, not only CAN you touch your own thoughts, if you don't, they will be pushed around and rearranged by others, and "nobody knows the trouble I've seen", when others pushed my thoughts around, without my knowledge or acceptance.

Someone once pushed a belief in the boogeyman on me, to make me go to sleep on time, and eat all my veggies, and about 2 days later, they pushed the idea of God on me, to make me behave, both of which I believed for years (perhaps the one, facilitated the other?) until I grew out of them, phew!. (Too bad sooooooo many people have yet to grow out of the second one, eh?)

But, the idea of touching your own thoughts, requires expanding your very idea of the word "touch" because, as we all know, "you can't touch that." (MC Hammer)

To expand one's own views of one thing, literally requires expanding one's own views about all and everything. Then, "you" expands, "can" expands, as does and must, "touch", "your", "own", "thoughts".

But, it's *one* thing to "say" that, and quite another indeedie-do, to be able to elucidate that expansion for yourself - that is, tell yourself what happened.

Of course, how could a person possibly discuss intentionally expanding their own view of concepts, but to do it? Just believing your own conceptual world is already, "quite expansive", is simply not enough and fooling oneself.

Understanding...what IS it good for?

It's a "wonderful thing", when someone is in touch with their own understanding when they talk and write (even moreso, of course, when they are thinking - but then, it's not just "wonderful", it's AWESOME), because what they say and write has a point, instead of the rambling internal dialogues that pass for thinking in one, which have no point, or several apparent, often contradictory points.

Generally, in humanity at large, talking/writing is a stand-in for understanding. Having none, about themselves or being alive on earth, they talk and write, and talk some more, and write some more, always presuming they're are talking and writing from their understanding (who really 'believes' they are talking/writing from their ignorance?), but they're not. There is no understanding there. Talking and writing is just a stand-in for something which hasn't actually arrived in the stadium yet. It's like an opening act.

But, the headliner, the real reason the tickets were sold in the first place - Mr. Understanding and his 16-piece band - apparently is either still 'on the road', or held up in traffic, or changed his mind about attending altogether. But, the audience doesn't >>really<< care afterall. They only >>believe<< they came for the main act, but in fact, they just came to see and hear everybody else in the stadium (who believe the same thing, of course), and the opening act(s) are a "good enough" reason to be there.

That is, membership in a group, participation on an email list (however sparce, or scanty) is all that any member needs and requires, to >>believe<< they are in their assigned seat, and waiting like everybody else for Mr. Understanding to finally make his grand and glorious showing.

Except that, well, he never shows, he never shows.

ps- there are a few in the stadium with cell phones, and they know Mr. Understanding's number, wouldn't ya just know it!?!

The Train

On the rail car, which is where we live for a time, it hardly matters who else is on board, and what else they're talking about, since they're stuck in there with you anyway. You can't ask them how to get off that particular car - since you don't particularly like those people anyway - because they're still stuck there with you >>on the car!<<, nor can you ask them where the train started or where it is going, because they didn't get on by any act of will, and they won't arrive any sooner than you, so how could they know the destination? etc., etc.

On the rail car, for the many rail car riders - there is much to complain about, and very little to be joyous about. For them, it's one non-stop complaint about each other, about themselves, about the immediate surroundings and about the imagination in everybody's head regarding why they're even there at all, and it all comes out in talk. Talk is the favorite pastime of rail riders.

Either they are talking to themselves, mumbling, or to each other, bitching - and it all amounts to a monstrous waste of time. Time, which could be spent, discovering how to get off the train, as distinct from settling in, and giving up, and living the life of a rail rider.

Those who are still on the train, want to be there - and don't you believe otherwise. They want to be there, they look for reasons to be there, and they spend the majority of their free time, entertaining themselves by talking about the finer points of being a citizen-in-good-standing of that particular rail car - that is, justifying their existence to themselves.

That's what life is like on the train. Getting off the train, is about something else. It would be like, somehow, disappearing all of a sudden, and reappearing somewhere else - that "somewhere" being known only to the one who'd achieved it.

There is a prevailing idea amongst the rail car riders, that those who've gotten off the train, left instructions in the car regarding how to get off. But, they're quite wrong. Because (and you must take this simply and quickly to see it), if such was true, and you found their notes, then ask yourself: "what are you doing still sitting there quietly in your seat, after all these many decades?" The ordinary, typical, and wrong answer is, "Well, I'm still looking for the notes, with a vim and vigor of Tony Robbins, by golly!", or "Well, I've already found some notes, some valuable notes, and I'm still reading them, daily - before, during and after my sitting and sensing exercises - so, I'm surely very, very close to getting off, by golly!"

Etc., etc., etc. You can hear your own story being told to you right now - just listen.

The reason for this list - for those who "want to be here" (not the ones who are immediately, and publically antithetical to it) - is to get a glimpse, however fleeting, of the possibility of directly burrowing their way out of the car, in one heroic effort, to see the outside for what it is. It's not our purpose to define the effort, nor describe the outside - that's up to each one here (those who "want to be here").

It's >>easy<< to spend one's entire life-in-thought critiquing the meager efforts of oneself, and everybody else. Afterall, "How could they possibly know something I don't know?!?" But that is the wrong question - asked over and over and over again by you, tens of thousands of times so far in your short life. A better question is this (for the few here who "want to be here"): "How is it that I can know something no one else knows?"

It's from that place of knowing - knowing what knowing is - that springs all the great notes on escaping the rail car, and those notes are NOT placed in the hands of the rail car riders. They're not even mentioned to the rail car riders. They are for those outside the rail car (who "want to be there.")

The rail riders

While sitting quietly in your bench seat, you frequently notice rail riders talking to each other, and if you listen carefully, you will notice, that they are not really talking to "each other", they are in fact, telling each other about themselves.

First, the guy tells the gal what kind of person he thinks and believes he is. Then, the gal tells the guy what kind of person she thinks and believes she is. And this goes forever.

That is, they never move past that point in the conversation of telling everybody else, what they think and believe is going on inside themselves. And it doesn't matter if they believe it's otherwise - it's not, they just haven't realized it yet.

For example, at the front of the car, is a scuffle between two people, yelling, hitting, sulking, swearing, much aimless movement, and a lot of confusion to be experienced by all in attendance. In your head, you witness this - as you can't help but pay some attention to it, lest they move their scuffle back into your immediate neighborhood - and your "witnessing" is an ongoing, subvocal (mostly) commentary. But the commentary is not about the external activities. The commentary is your inner dialog with yourself, evoked by the feelings arising in you at the time, driven by your instincts. That is, as is so obvious, you don't comment upon the external world at all - ever (unless you're talking/thinking about moving rocks from here to there in order to make your bedroom less messy). You're commenting upon the feelings/sensations arising in you producing automatic thoughts in your head, heard by you at the time. You're talking to yourself. Period.

For all practical purposes, your mind is talking to itself about it's own operations, but because word/symbols are the medium of exchange therein, it can't simultaneously realize that - all it can realize at the time, are the words flowing.

So, it says those two people scuffling at the front of the car are bad, in the wrong, in the right, should have their manners worked on severely, should be chained into their seats, etc.

And 15 minutes pass, without realizing yet again, that your own mind was just engaged in an internal scenario and you bought into it lock, stock, and rail car. Without realizing what's going on, you continually, and quite willingly, repay for your seat in the car. You want to be there.

There is another way. There is a direct way to deal with instant-by-instant living and people know what it is, they just don't want to leave the show - the show is just too damn "entertaining", and their own minds too damn "boring". (your choice of words quoted above may read differently in your head...)

The indirect ways are about fixing up the rail car, fixing all the rail riders, fixing their conversations, their mannerisms, their activities, and all the rest of it. This is what rail car riders do. They spend their entire lives talking about how to get off the car, and never one moment actually outside, because they enjoy the car too damn much.